Angela Rye called the recent criticism and death threats aimed at Rep. Maxine Waters a result of her being a Black woman.
“It has everything to do with the fact that this Black woman is intimidating to some people who can’t handle the truth,” she said during a CNN panel discussion Thursday with Steve Cortes of the Trump re-election Advisory Council. “It has everything to do with race.”
Rye defended the congresswoman, who has been dodging death threats and criticism after calling for the public to “push back” on the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that separates families.
“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them,” she said last weekend. “You tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
Waters’ speech came after White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant by its owner. Trump did not like Waters words and tweeted a warning on Monday.
“Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!”
Since then Waters has had to field death threats, even canceling two upcoming public events after receiving a “very serious death threat,” according to her office.
Waters has also received criticism from other politicians, including her own party’s leadership, who say that she went too far: “I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don’t agree with you,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on the Senate floor. “If you disagree with a politician, organize your fellow citizens to action and vote them out of office. But no one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right. That’s not American.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also called Water’s words “unacceptable.”
“Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable,” Pelosi said in a tweet. “As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea.”
Rye said that Waters’ words were taken out of context: “My point is very simple: I demand that people stop requiring Congresswoman Waters to behave in one way while everybody else can do something else.”
She continued: “The fact that [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer called what a Black woman said un-American is problematic and this is the reason why Democrats have a hard time uniting the base.”